What makes a house a home

Filed under: Just For Moms, Activities: Babies, Development/Milestones: Babies

All of our stuff is in here now -- the living room furniture with the coffee-rim stain, old photographs and chipped dinner plates, handed down from my Mom, witness to hundreds of my well-intentioned dinner attempts. My laptop is in its familiar perch on my desk, stray white dog hairs licking the screen. Some of Nolan's clothes haven't been unfolded from his chest of drawers, they seem so teeny. I'm not ready to throw them out.

This house perched at the end of a silent cul-de-sac is our home now, that older couple with horn-rimmed glasses and matching rain slickers are members of the cast of our new life. Jordi has assumed his old position at my feet, panting softly through the heat, eyes beeseeching me for a little more kibble, maybe another walk?

"Does it feel like home?" my Mom asks, and I know she wants me to answer yes, I am at home and this is my resting place. But the truth is that I still feel like I am squatting in another woman's place, a woman with tired eyes and a shellshocked soul: she can't possibly be me. I feel like I am riding the wave of a very long play: slightly removed from reality.

Yesterday I was going through a package my cousin sent me from another province: lovingly outgrown clothes, from her son to mine. I lifted them out of the box and felt the fabric, held the softness to my face. The clothes smelled familiar: like cinnamon buns and green-flaked laundry detergent, a sprinkle of Pine Sol and a little bit of dryer lint. The smell of my cousin's Mom's house, the smell of home. A feeling of nostalgia and surprising relief rushed through me. My house smells like paint and wood and new beginnings. I need it to smell like mine.

Last night I put some vanilla on the burner in the kitchen, spritzed the towels in the bathroom with my perfume. I broke out the old febreeze I used to use near Nolan's diaper pail, and put on a load of wash with extra Sunlight. Slowly I am hoping the smells will mix, meld, and shape to help form this house into a home.

And I realized that's part of what's missing here: the familiar smells of home.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.